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Rod Searle
05-07-2015, 08:39 PM
Hi, I have 2 concert ukes a Kala KA C and Kamaka hf2.
In the future should I look at a soprano or Tenor uke, or
stick with the concert size which Iam comfortable with.
:anyone:

Hippie Dribble
05-07-2015, 09:34 PM
it's sorta one of those unanswerables mate...

Depends really on (i) what feels most comfortable in your arms and fingers, (ii) what style of music you play and (iii) what type of sound you're after.

Concert is always a nice compromise between the boxy, percussive stuff that the soprano loves and the fingerstyle playing that the tenor is excellent for. Sopranos typically will have less sustain and an emphasis on the treble side, whereas a tenor should have a warmer tone generally and more sustain...

Once you find the style of music you're most comfortable with the choice will inevitably be made for you I reckon mate and you'll know intuitively which way you want to lean. Really though, any scale uke can be used for any style of music: John King and Azo Bell for example... amazing fingerstyle players in jazz and classical and they play(ed) sopranos...so go figure. No rules.

Of course, in my devil's advocate role as UAS enabler, why not get one of each? Oh, and then you'll need a baritone. Oh and a resonator and a banjo uke and probably a sopranino. Rinse and repeat. :p

Rakelele
05-07-2015, 09:54 PM
:agree: Yes to everything that Hippie Dribble said. Personally, I lean towards Tenors, because I think they enable more musical possibilities, different playing styles, types of music etc. But having a good Soprano around is a lot of fun, too.

Tootler
05-08-2015, 12:13 AM
l agree what's said above. If you are thinking of going low G then tenor is the way to go, otherwise it's about the sound you like.

I started out more towards concerts because there was a little more room on the fretboard but they still had something of that classic ukulele sound. I've now moved towards sopranos and tenors and I'm moving towards tuning my sopranos ADF#B as it gives a crisp bright sound that works well with a lot of the songs I sing. The tenors I have tuned dGBE as I like the sound I get. I'm not a low G person, I like the sound re-entrant tuning gives. The lower tuning on the tenor is good for fingerpicking. I still have three concerts, one is tuned down to Bb for a more mellow tone, one Banjo Uke and a Risa stick. The latter two are both tuned GCEA.

k0k0peli
05-08-2015, 12:48 AM
Other options include 6- and 8-string tenors. My new Kala KA-6 is fine but the G4, C4-C3, E4, A4-A3 stringing is a challenge for me as a long-time fingerpicker. The top course contains both the lowest and highest notes. I plan to restring a mandolin as an 8-steel-string soprano uke in the next few days (when new strings arrive) -- I'll play with linear vs re-entrant and unison vs octaves. I've not yet had a chance to play an actual 8-string uke. I'll suggest you try various diverse instruments and see what feels best.

HBolte
05-08-2015, 01:48 AM
I think that you can do about anything on a concert that you can do on a tenor. You however can't get the unique soprano ukulele sound of a soprano unless you have a soprano. I think every ukulele player should have one soprano!

Hippie Dribble
05-08-2015, 01:50 AM
I think that you can do about anything on a concert that you can do on a tenor. You however can't get the unique soprano ukulele sound of a soprano unless you have a soprano. I think every ukulele play should have one soprano!
Hear! Hear! I agree Hans. To me, soprano IS ukulele and always will be.

Ukejenny
05-08-2015, 02:43 AM
My answer to all is yes! Tenor is fun for me to play and finger pick. My "sweet spot" is the concert. I also have a fun, punchy, jangly soprano that I love.

wayfarer75
05-08-2015, 02:47 AM
Hear! Hear! I agree Hans. To me, soprano IS ukulele and always will be.

Another soprano vote. I have a concert and I think it's great, and I plan on getting a tenor in a few months (waiting for the right one). The tenor and concert are for fingerpicking high and low G. BUT I have two sopranos, one a beater Kala KA-S and the other a fantastic Kamaka pineapple. I love them both. There's just no way you get that classic "uke" sound without a soprano. No, they don't have the sustain and bass of the bigger ukes, but I think sopranos are the most fun.

Tootler
05-08-2015, 05:57 AM
...You however can't get the unique soprano ukulele sound of a soprano unless you have a soprano. I think every ukulele play should have one soprano!

Absolutely. Even more so if you use ADF#B tuning. Everyone should try ADF#B tuning on a soprano

janeray1940
05-08-2015, 06:19 AM
Here's an idea - how about a concert-neck soprano (AKA super soprano)? If you're comfortable on concert scale that's a way of getting close to the soprano sound without losing the freedom and room of the larger scale. A bonus: many of them have a join at the 14th fret rather than the standard 12th, which comes in really handy when playing further up the neck. Kamaka makes a great longneck soprano (the HF-1L model) - I alternate between this and my HF-2 concert uke (with low G) as my two main players. They sound very different from each other but have a really similar playability.

SteveZ
05-08-2015, 07:05 AM
Hi, I have 2 concert ukes a Kala KA C and Kamaka hf2.
In the future should I look at a soprano or Tenor uke, or
stick with the concert size which Iam comfortable with.
:anyone:

Are you acquiring the soprano or tenor just to experiment with a different size, or is there some particular sound you want for musical reasons? The goal for the acquisition impacts the answer.

Going up or down in size while retaining standard tuning (high-G GCEA) will give a slightly different sound, but is more of a "feel" thing. If the concert fretboard feels a bit cramped, then a tenor may be a better fit. If the concert feels fine, odds are the soprano also will, and the soprano's slightly smaller size may have other advantages, especially for travel.

If one wants to try different sounds, then experiments with tuning (at minimum, going low-G) through string change on a concert is an inexpensive alternative. Sopranos and low-G often don't often go well together, but tenors take well to low-G. So, if feel is not the issue, trying low-G on a concert will give an idea of the potenial of a tenor.

The suggestions of 6-string and 8-string tenors are good ones. However, having some tenor experience (or alternatively 12-string guitar or mandolin experience) would probably be wise before acquiring a 6-string or 8-string.

There's always the concert-sized banjo uke, if the goal is to shake things up a notch.

Personally, am not a real fan of sopranos, but I'm not into the Hawaiian genre where the soprano shines. I've got two (a Flea and a KonaBlaster), but they are "special purpose" instruments. The Flea is the in-the-trunk(boot), available for thise times I'm out somewhere and the circumstances for play occur. The Konablaster is steel-stringed and a rocker, good for those times when matched against/with an electric guitar.

phanzo
05-08-2015, 07:37 AM
I mostly switch between my Low G Tenor (Kala Travel) and my sopranos (Mainland Honeybee is a gem but not sure Mike is making those anymore...). My Mainland concert used to be my main squeeze but it rarely gets used anymore. I prefer the dynamic switch between soprano and low G tenor.

If you want Low G, get a tenor but if not I'd say get a decent little soprano first. They're so much fun to just pick up and play.

Good luck. Cheers!

Ukulele Eddie
05-08-2015, 07:39 AM
Here's another idea: Some local music stores have rental programs for instruments under a given price point (typically $500) where you can rent it for 25% of the selling price. If you buy it, they usually credit you for the rental against the purchase price. Rent both sizes for 3-months. Buy the one you like better or return both. There is little downside and real benefit to having 3 months to get to know which size(s) you prefer.

Xtradust
05-08-2015, 09:29 AM
Hear! Hear! I agree Hans. To me, soprano IS ukulele and always will be.
I agree! My concerts and tenors sound and feel pretty close to each other, but a soprano is a special thing. You could always get an Islander soprano, they have a wider neck and a little more room on the fretboard, if you were worried about it being tight.

k0k0peli
05-08-2015, 10:06 AM
The suggestions of 6-string and 8-string tenors are good ones. However, having some tenor experience (or alternatively 12-string guitar or mandolin experience) would probably be wise before acquiring a 6-string or 8-string.
I can't comment on 8-string ukes 'cause I ain't tried one yet. But I'll attest that my extensive mandolin and 12-string experience did not much matter on my 6-string tenor. It is a quite different instrument, at least for fingerpicking. Mandolin courses are typically in unison. On a 12-string, the top two courses are unison, the rest in octaves with the higher string on bottom. The 6-string tenor has its first and third (A and C) courses doubled in octaves, factory-shipped also with the higher string on bottom. That make fingerpicking melodies and basslines... interesting. (I flipped my top course.) A strummer won't have much difficulty with a tenor 6.

EDIT: I almost forgot to mention: richness. Multi-string courses just sound richer than single strings, whether in unison, octaves, or intervals. In the last few minutes I've variously fingered my new mandolin and 6-string uke, 12-string guitar, and 4-course 12-string cuatro-menor, like a fat mandola in taropatch tuning. Those 3-string courses just shimmer! And the wide courses are easy on the fingers. Just something to think about.


There's always the concert-sized banjo uke, if the goal is to shake things up a notch. That it will, that it will...

hendulele
05-08-2015, 10:25 AM
Here's an idea - how about a concert-neck soprano (AKA super soprano)? If you're comfortable on concert scale that's a way of getting close to the soprano sound without losing the freedom and room of the larger scale. A bonus: many of them have a join at the 14th fret rather than the standard 12th, which comes in really handy when playing further up the neck. Kamaka makes a great longneck soprano (the HF-1L model) - I alternate between this and my HF-2 concert uke (with low G) as my two main players. They sound very different from each other but have a really similar playability.

Yes, this would be my suggestion if you're determined to move away from (or experiment with something other than) concerts. My first uke was a Kala KA-8 8-string tenor. That was a mistake because my hands weren't large enough to move comfortably along the wider neck and handle the longer spacing between frets. Soprano and concert are more comfortable for me, and I ended up rehoming the 8-string.

I also endorse Ukulele Eddie's suggestion of renting a tenor or soprano if that's an option.

NewKid
05-08-2015, 11:02 AM
Another vote for soprano. I play tenors mainly but my Martin soprano always brings me back to why I fell in love with the ukulele. Great for strumming and wonderfully portable!

cpmusic
05-08-2015, 11:40 AM
I think that you can do about anything on a concert that you can do on a tenor. You however can't get the unique soprano ukulele sound of a soprano unless you have a soprano. I think every ukulele player should have one soprano!
I agree. If you find the soprano neck cramped, look at one of the long-neck sopranos. I have two, a Kala KA-SLNG and an aNueNue MiniC Mahogany (both low-end laminated models) and I love the combination of soprano tone and concert scale.

D'oh! I just noticed that janeray1940 mentioned the long-neck or super soprano. I'd apologize for repeating it, but it's a good idea.

Debby
05-08-2015, 12:04 PM
I vote soprano. I learned on a cheap soprano. I recently bought a concert (Mainland Mahogany) and I love love love it. But I still play my cheap soprano, too. My next uke will be a nice soprano (Mainland Red Cedar).

lakesideglenn
05-08-2015, 01:51 PM
It's inevitable...you must have/try at LEAST one of each!
But I'd start with a nice soprano...
Cheers!

fisher00
05-08-2015, 02:42 PM
Nothing to add - 'cept 'hi' from another Adelaidian :)

spongeuke
05-08-2015, 06:35 PM
Sopranos always, There are great buys on vintage Martins right now. I know because I won't sell mine for the prices that they go for now. Play one of the pre World War II and you will know.

janeray1940
05-08-2015, 06:53 PM
D'oh! I just noticed that janeray1940 mentioned the long-neck or super soprano. I'd apologize for repeating it, but it's a good idea.

It's worth repeating! Super sopranos were not on my radar for years because I rarely saw them around, even though I spend a ridiculous lot of time in a uke store each week. Fortunately I discovered them earlier this year and it was an immediate "Where have you been all my life??" moment. The more we talk about them, the more people will learn about them :)

Pickinguker
05-08-2015, 07:11 PM
Should the aim be strumming get a soprano.
For picking, get a tenor.
After your tenor you will want the soprano...

cpmusic
05-08-2015, 08:26 PM
Fortunately I discovered them earlier this year and it was an immediate "Where have you been all my life??" moment. The more we talk about them, the more people will learn about them :)
I had the same reaction, and it's part of the reason I have 2, which are remarkably different in tone despite both being made of laminated mahogany.